The 10 World’s Most Important Algae

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae – According to Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2018, there are 10 World’s Most Important Algae Species. In the FAO publication of 2020 entitled “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020”, this institution describes the species of algae with the biggest production in 2018. Algae commonly have multiple benefits to humans. In our daily life, we call it seaweed. The term seaweed (seaweed) is commonly known in the world of trade. In the science world, algae are low-level plants, because they do not have special roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. In general, algae consist of 4 classes based on their pigment content, namely Rhodophyceae (red algae), Phaeophyceae (brown algae), Chlorophyceae (green algae), Cyanophyceae(blue-green algae).

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae - The most Important

From time to time, historically, seaweed has been used by the Chinese and Japanese as special food and as medicine. In Japan, there are many species of algae that can be used in daily cooking, and Japanese people like to consume seaweed. The use of seaweed has multiple functions, gelatine, pickles, vegetables, salads, wakame, kombu, and nori. Statistically, some algae have the highest production because of their major function in human lives. Here are the Rank of 10 World’s Most Important Algae Species According to FAO Publication entitled “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020”.


The rank of 10 World’s Most Important Algae

RankCommon NameScientific NameAquatic Algae Production in 2019
Million Tons
1Japanese kelp (Laminaria japonica)11.4
2Eucheuma seaweeds nei (Eucheuma spp.)9.2
3Gracilaria seaweeds (Gracilaria spp.)3.4
4Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida)2.3
5Nori nei (Porphyra spp.)2
6Elkhorn sea moss (Kappaphycus alvarezii) 1.5
7Brown seaweeds (Phaeophyceae) 0.891
8Laver (Porphyra tenera)0.855
9Fusiform sargassum (Sargassum fusiforme)0.268
10Spiny eucheuma (Eucheuma denticulatum)0.174
Source : Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2020)


Brief Description of 10 World’s Most Important Algae


The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Brief Description

1.Japanese kelp (Laminaria japonica)   

Japanese Kelp or Laminaria japonica become the world’s most popular Algae in 2018.  Based on the FAO report, the production of this species reached 11.4 million tons.  Taxonomically, this species Phylum: Ochrophyta; Subphylum: Phaeista; Infraphylum: Limnista; Superclass: Fucistia; Class: Phaeophyceae; Order: Laminariales; Family: Laminariaceae; Genus: Laminaria; Species: Laminaria japonica. So based on the taxonomy, it has close relation with the other algae, namely Laminaria agraphia, Laminaria digitata, Laminaria hyperborean, Laminaria sinclairii.

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Japanese Kelp

Seaweed Laminaria japonica usually grows in the subtidal zone. This species contains a total dietary fiber of 50.7%, which is the highest among all plants and seaweeds (Kim et al, 2018). Based on its habitat, laminaria japonica are mostly found on rocky shores at low tide and in the subtidal zone to a depth of 8-30 m in the North Atlantic and North Pacific but some species can live at depths of up to 120 m which are usually found in the Mediterranean and Brazil but require water conditions. which is clear.

In Japan and Korea, this type of algae is widely consumed as Kombu and Haidai in Japan and China, and several Southeast Asian countries. Kombu is widely used as a spice and cooked together with vegetables, meat, or cooked into processed foods. Statistically, this species is widely cultivated in China, Japan, and Korea.


2. Eucheuma seaweeds nei (Eucheuma spp.)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae - Euchema Seaweed

Eucheuma nei seaweed (Eucheuma spp.) become the second world’s most popular Algae in 2018. Its total production in 2018 reached 9.2 million tons. Biologically, Eucheuma can grow through the apical meristem network consisting of a group of cells that are active in the development stage. Statistically, the Philippines, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia are some of the countries that have a huge production of this commodity. Functionally, Eucheuma species are widely used in the production of carrageenan, materials for cosmetics, and food.


3.Gracilaria seaweeds (Gracilaria spp)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Gracilaria Seaweed

Gracilaria seaweeds or Gracilaria spp. is the 3rd most popular Algae in 2018. In that year, the production of this species reached 3.4 million tons. This seaweed can be classified in Division: Rhodophyta; Class: Florideophyceae; Order: Gracilariales; Family: Gracilariaceae. Gracilaria usually grows warm waters throughout the world. This alga cannot tolerate with temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F). Based on its habitat, gracilaria usually live in all oceans except the Arctic Ocean. Functionally, Gracilaria is a nutritional food in some countries, namely Philippines, Japan, and Korea.


4. Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Wakane

Wakane or Undaria pinnatifida become one of the most important Algae in The World in 2018. Its production in 2018 reached 2.3 million tons. This species has considerable economic importance as a food source in Japan, Korea, and China. Taxonomically, this species can be classified in Phylum: Ochrophyta; Class: Phaeophyceae; Order: Laminariales; Family: Alariaceae; Genus: Undaria; Species: U. pinnatifida. This species usually grows in cold, temperate coasts of the northwest Pacific Ocean and is usually served as Salad and One of the Ingredients of Soup.


5. Nori nei (Porphyra spp.)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Nori Nei

Nori nei or Porphyra spp. has the favorable one with the production in 2018 reached 2 million tons. Historically, Porphyra cultivation has a long journey. It started since the 17th century in Japan, Korea, and China. Until now, this alga has become one of the most important shallow-water coastal industries in these countries. Functionally, this species can be used as Nori. Nori is a name in Japanese of foodstuffs in the form of sheets of dried seaweed. The Nuri has function as decoration and flavoring assorted Japanese dishes, side dishes when eating rice, and other functions.


6. Elkhorn Sea moss (Kappaphycus alvarezii)     

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Elkorn Sea Moss

Kappaphycus alvarezii, the elkhorn sea moss, is a species of red algae. Elkhorn sea moss (Kappaphycus alvarezii) is the next biggest one. In 2018, the production of this species reached 1.5 million tons all over the world. Based on taxonomy, this species can be classified in Division: Rhodophyta; Class: Florideophyceae; Order: Gigartinales; Family: Solieriaceae; Genus: Kappaphycus; Species: K. alvarezii. Functionally, this alga can be used as the raw material of carrageenan.


7. Brown seaweeds (Phaeophyceae)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Brown Seaweed

Brown seaweeds or Phaeophyceae is the 7th world’s biggest production of algae. In 2018, its production reached 0.89 million Tons. Most brown algae live in marine environments and brown seaweeds provide shelter and food for small animals.  Functionally, for human needs, it can be used raw materials for alginate.


8. Laver (Porphyra tenera)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Laver

Laver or its scientific name Porphyra tenera is the 8th world’s biggest algae. In 2018, its production reached 0.85 million Tons. Taxonomically, this species can be classified in Division: Rhodophyta; Class: Bangiophyceae; Order: Bangiales; Family: Bangiaceae; Genus: Pyropia; Species:P. tenera. Functionally, this species can be used as dried seaweed food.


9. Fusiform sargassum 

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Fusiform Sargassum

Fusiform sargassum is the 9th world’s biggest production of algae. In 2018, its production reached 0.26 million Tons. Taxonomically, its species can be classified in Phylum: chrophyta; Subphylum: Phaeista: Infraphylum: Limnista; Superclass: Fucistia: Class: Phaeophyceae; Subcalss: Fucophycidae; Order: Fucales; Family: Sargassaceae; Genus: Sargassum; Species: Sargassum fusiforme.  In Japan, this species is known as Hijiki. Hijiki is a healthy food because it contains important minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.


10. Spiny Eucheuma (Eucheuma denticulatum)

The 10 World’s Most Important Algae- Spiny Euchema

Spiny eucheuma (Eucheuma denticulatum) is the 10th world’s biggest production of algae. In 2018, its production reached 0.17 million Tons. Spiny Euchema has a raw material as carrageenan, an ingredient for cosmetics, and food for human needs.



Bibliography The 10 World’s Most Important Algae  

FAO. 2020. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in action. Rome. https://doi.org/10.4060/ca9229en

Kim Jae-Young, Kwon Young Min, Kim In-Sung, Kim Jeong-A., Yu Da-Yoon, Adhikari Bishnu, Lee Sang-Suk, Choi In-Soon, Cho Kwang-Keun. 2018.Effects of the Brown Seaweed Laminaria japonica Supplementation on Serum Concentrations of IgG, Triglycerides, and Cholesterol, and Intestinal Microbiota Composition in Rats. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2018.00023.

Wikipedia. 2021. Gracilaria Accessed via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gracilaria  on 22 September 2021.

Algaebase. 2021. Undaria pinnatifida (Harvey) Suringar 1873. Accessed via https://www.algaebase.org/search/species/detail/?species_id=350  on 22 September 2021.

FAO. 2021. Porphyra spp. [Bangiaceae]. Accessed via http://www.fao.org/fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/aquaculture/CulturedSpecies/file/es/es_nori.htm on 22 September 2021.

Wikipedia.2021. Pyropia tenera. Accessed via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyropia_tenera  on 20 September 2021.

Marinespecies. Sargassum fusiforme (Harvey) Setchell, 1931. Accessed via http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=494972 on 20 September 2021

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